What is more surprising is the political revitalization of relig-ion at the heart of Western society. Though there is statisticalevidence of a wave of secularization in almost all European coun-tries since the end of World War II - going hand in hand with so-cial modernization, in the United States all data show that thecomparatively large proportion of the population made up of devoutand religiously active citizens has remained the same over thelast six decades.
More importantly: the religious Right is nottraditionalist. Precisely because it unleashes spontaneous energyfor religious revivalism, it causes such irritation among itssecular opponents.The movements for religious renewal at the heart of Western civi-lization are strengthening, at the cultural level, the politicaldivision of the West that was prompted by the Iraq War.
With theabolition of the death penalty, with liberal regulations on abor-tion, with setting homosexual partnerships on a par with hetero-sexual marriages, with an unconditional rejection of torture, andgenerally with the privileging of individual rights versus collec-tive goods, e.g., national security, the European states seem tobe moving forward alone down the path they had trodden side byside with the United States. By now, the significance of religionsused for political ends has grown the world over. Against thisbackground, the division of the West is rather perceived as if
P. Norris & R. Inglehart: Sacred and Secular, Religion and Politics Worldwide, (Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 2004),Ch.4.
J. Habermas, Der gespaltene Westen, (Suhrkamp, Frankfurt/Main, 2004).